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Friday, December 13, 2013

Myrtle Beach Pavilion 2006, Final Season and Reflection

We will have a big announcement tomorrow! Stay tuned!

The Myrtle Beach Pavilion was a wonderful little seaside park in Myrtle Beach. It was a small, 11 acre amusement park, similar in size to it neighbor down the street, the wonderful Family Kingdom. Pavilion operated as a traditional amusement park from 1948, on. Pavilion really traces its history back more than a century since it was home to a seaside dance hall. A mainstay in most amusement parks from that era, dance halls/band shells/ballrooms are something that are so critical to both amusement park and American history in general. If you ask your grandparents or great grandparents, there is a good chance their first date was at one of these dance halls, dancing to live bands like the legendary Glenn Miller, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong and others, eventually breaking down many barriers in the battle for civil rights, but I digress.
The dance hall was a venerable place, having burnt twice with the third building lasting until a real estate developer felt it right to tear it down and replace it with a field. The plight of this park is very similar to that of Six Flags Astroworld, if you are more familiar with that. Just as infuriating.
Photo Credit to Newsplusnotes and I think it was sourced from Google Earth in roughly 2006. You can see the Hurricane Category Five coaster forming the backdrop. The building in the lower left corner is the old dance hall that we were talking about. Middle bottom of the park you can see the log flume and their old dark ride. On the far right you can see their rapids ride.
Zoom ahead to 7 years to 2013. They turn a thriving amusement park in the center of a tourist area into a barren wasteland. "We've got real estate of value! We need to tear down this amusement park ASAP"

This is pure conjecture, but I would imagine that since the closure was decided sometime around when Hard Rock Park was announced, the owners likely thought they had more value in the real estate than the park. The thought was likely that it would be squashed by the competition from Hard Rock. I regret they tore down this park for nothing but I am also glad they gave us a season of warning as opposed to many recent closures with no warning. At this point, the park land is in perpetual vacant standing like Astroworld and Geauga Lake. At least the wonderful and venerable old Family Kingdom, an absolutely must visit park, is still only a few blocks down the street. 

Myrtle Beach Pavilion was a very nice little park with a fun selection of rides including an Arrow log flume
Named fittingly
The centerpiece of the park was the relatively recent, but member of the cursed CCI class of 2000, Hurricane Category 5. Classmates Villain and Mega-Zeph are also gone or pretty much gone. The only g-trains I have ever found bearable were the ones on Hurricane. 

In this final picture, you can see some of the canyon theming for their rapids ride, complete with faux mountains, high tension power lines and more. It was right next to the road so it was funny to hear the distinct sounds of riders screaming "WHOAAAA AHHHHHHH" that you only hear on river rapids style rides. You can also see their waveswinger, which I think was perfectly placed near the center of the park. 

The park had a small, but decent collection of flats including the wave swinger, Huss Enterprise and Calypso. The Hurricane coaster had a helix surrounding the ride, making for a pretty disorienting effect. 

The Arrow Wild Mouse variant is probably my favorite of the genre. The rides are super smooth and have some wonderful airtime. 
This was the view from the ride's station. The poor ride did not have a chance. It was ripped apart mercilessly like Villain. I really enjoyed the ride. The way I will always remember the park is through this ride on it. Looking one way at the mammoth coaster. The layout felt very long, speedy and powerful and the drop felt huge. It was 100 feet tall but it really felt closer to 150 if that makes any sense to you. It just felt huge. A very enjoyable ride for me. I will always remember this specific moment though, about to ride the Hurricane off into the sunset, feeling the warm ocean breeze and that smell of sand and saltwater. Pavilion was a great place to spend an evening and that is how I will always remember it. Now does anyone want to buy it and resurrect a few old Schmecks and the Riverview Bobs? 

Don't forget, the wonderful and venerable Family Kingdom with Swamp Fox, the John Allen classic, and a 1923 PTC carousel that was removed from another sad closure at the famed Casino in Asbury Park, Springsteen's hometown. 

Available now is our 2015 calendar. It is on early-bird special and available through this link!

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